The counseling services for children and young people ChildLine Botswana, has announced that measures to curb child pornography and child trafficking are currently ongoing.
In an interview, Childline Projects Coordinator, Olabile Machete, said mobilization of stakeholders both in government, NGOs as well as international organizations to fight the incidence of trafficking in children┬áhas taken place and are currently mapping the way forward.
He said Childline has been receiving reports of child pornography from both individual members of the community as well as other organizations in possession of such evidence.
“We are currently lobbying for development of a protocol for assistance of victims of trafficking not only Batswana, but also children who are trafficked into the country as well as those that are en-route to other countries.”
He encouraged people not to shroud their thinking in denial, believing that these things do not happen in Botswana as it can hugely affect the social fabric; upstanding morals as the pornography industry not only for exportation, but for domestic consumption might grow.
He revealed that recently there have been a lot of reports about people who work with children but turn out to be molesters, adding that it must be noted that it is a most common trait with paedophiles. He also encouraged parents to be wary of neighbours, uncles, and anyone around their children who is obsessed with pornography.
┬áMachete said of late there has been a very disturbing trend amongst some parents who are allowing their children to be continuously abused in their desire to save faltering/ non-existing relationships/marriages. He said these parents are only concerned about themselves and where their next meal, their car, or some such material come from and conveniently turn a blind eye to their child being sexually abused on a daily basis.
“It is in these situations that members of the community should make attempts at saving the poor children by reporting to relevant authorities,” he said.
Machete said the laws that are in place are not giving the children enough security. He said there is need for legislation that is explicit on trafficking, adding that legislation on sexual abuse is also lacking to some extent.
Citing an example, he said a child molester gets children to play with his manhood or plays with the children’s genitals and is charged with indecent assault. The charges are not a deterrent, with some getting off lighter than traffic offenders. He advised the government to take serious charges against parents who neglect their parenting responsibilities and ignore their children’s needs for safety/protection and education & guidance.
Machete said Childline is currently implementing partners of the International Labour Organization on a Programme called International Programme on Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), in which we identify and withdraw children exploited in the Agriculture sector and those that are victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC).
He said the project seeks to rehabilitate the children and ensure that they go back to school and live in conducive environments for their development.
He encouraged that people should guard against the possibility of treating victims as perpetrators, a situation that might further traumatize the victims.
Machete said with such serious cases being publicized in the media, we would like to see development of legislation specific to trafficking, not only of children but adults as well. He encouraged parents to monitor their children that also tend to enjoy partying and indulging in alcohol consumption and also to monitor the social websites that the children are exposed to as they might also place the children at a risk of gullibly getting into contact with the perpetrators.